Nepal, garudas and Garuda

13th century, Nepal, garuda, gilt copper or copper alloy with stone inlay, at the Rubin Museum of Art.

13th century, Nepal, garuda, gilt copper or copper alloy with stone inlay, at the Rubin Museum of Art.

In Buddhism, garudas are mythical creatures, enemies of the nagas, half-men half birds, with two arms and wings, an eagle’s face with two horns, a bird’s legs and claws. They are often depicted with a long snake in their beak and are at the top of numerous mandorlas made in Nepal or Tibet.

13th-13th century, Nepal, Garuda, gilt metal, private collection, photo by Christie's.

13th-14th century, Nepal, Garuda, gilt metal, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

In Hinduism and Buddhism, Garuda has the body of a strong man and two wings. His face is usually human but he may have the beak of an eagle.

13th-14th c., Nepal, Garuda, 12,5 cm, close up

He is adorned with snakes.

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